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Thousands take to French streets to protest same-sex marriage

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
November 19th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The defenders of traditional marriage have taken to streets in France in protest of their Socialist government's intent to authorize gay marriage. They say the proposals would threaten a "major and dangerous upheaval."

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) -  Tens of thousands of people, joined by Catholic church leaders, marched in cities across the nation this past weekend to protest government plans to legalize same-sex marriage.

Waving banners with slogans such as "don't touch civil marriage," "all born from the union of a man and a woman" and "one father + one mother for all children," demonstrators were highly visible in the cities of Paris, Lyon, Marseille and other major towns.

The organizers said 200,000 people demonstrated in the Paris, compared to a police estimate of 70,000.

France's National Assembly is due to start examining the proposed law allowing same-sex marriage this coming January. A vote is expected in mid-2013. The proposal would grant gay couples the right to adopt children -- but not to use assisted procreation methods.

Recent polls show the majority of French people support gay marriage, while still many don't favor the right for homosexual couples to adopt.
Pope Benedict told French bishops visiting the Vatican on Saturday not to be "afraid" of spreading Christian teachings.

"In the important debates about society, the voice of the church must make itself heard relentlessly and with determination," he said.

The Vatican pledged earlier this month to never stop fighting attempts to "erase" the privileged role of heterosexual marriage, which it called "an achievement of civilization."

Among the protestors was Lyon Cardinal Philippe Barbarin. He says that marriage was defined at the very start of the Bible as created by God to join man and woman.

"I'm here like everyone else, like the Protestants, the Catholics, the Muslims, the philosophers, it's a message to politicians so that a debate is organized on such a fundamental issue," he said, adding that he had come as a "simple citizen."

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